Saturday, June 30, 2012

Soap Discussion - June 2012

And the last blog of the month and it's a soap one.

Coronation Street: While the fallout from Sunita and Karl's relationship continued to be boring, I did like the somewhat  short lived but oddly amusing rivalry between the former and Eva (still not a great character but less annoying this month) and truce that was forced on them whilst they were dealing with a rat and a health inspector in last night's double bill. A bright spark along with the dancing plot of Norris and Hayley to combat the unusual reunion of Nick and Leanne and subsequent break up of Sean and Marcus as well as Peter handing over his son to his soon to be ex-wife. One of the show's better months.

EastEnders: Michael continued to prove why he's the best villain in Walford with his manipulation of Jean but even he didn't expect Kat to undo him and Janine to go into premature labour during his wedding day. Say whatever you want about Michael but he's one of the most complex and interesting villains the show has produced in a long, long time and contrast it to Derek's bully boy tactics with Lucy and I know which character I find more interesting. Speaking of Derek, I'm still enjoying most of his scenes with Alice and the arrival of Joey should provide some interesting enough conflict as well. As for Abi and Jay breaking up - shame but she's only going to be gone for two months, which is practically five minutes compared to the fact that most of the cast seem to be taking six month breaks nowadays.

Emmerdale: Oh Alicia and David's plot to get married is just so daft that it beggars belief to be honest. I know the writers needed a reason to write the actress out because she's pregnant in real life but couldn't they have come up with something a little better? Speaking of babies, if Debbie's 'miracle child' plot wasn't enough, now we have Nikhil and Gennie expecting a baby and Jai and Charity fighting because the latter doesn't want a child as well as two imminent divorces and the Dingles up to their eyeballs in debt once again as a consequence of Zak's recent behaviour. At least it's been a busy month for the most dangerous village on television.

Hollyoaks: And this show has had it's best month in a long while. Okay, so Brendan practically stalking Ste and Doug isn't a thrilling prospect but in a month where Silas is about to return, Lynsey becomes more of a Miss Marple than usual and Mercedes determination to create conflict between Riley and Mitzeee reached batshit levels of crazy, as well as the further developments of Walker, Sampson and Ally and Carmel's own recent accident and this has actually been an incredibly strong month. As for that shocking death as well in last night's episode, even I didn't see that coming. Nice move, show.

Friday, June 29, 2012

How To Promote A Hit TV Series

Or any TV series well to be honest. Yes, you can bung a few clips together for a 30-90 second promo and give the show a good day, timeslot and lead in show and hope for the best.

Then there's also the use of a concept trailer, which means getting the cast together to film a promo that hints at the themes of the upcoming season/series of a show (with a bit of misdirection here and there too). Personally, I've noticed many shows do concept trailers, if not for every season then definitely for a good amount of their seasons. Shows like Doctor Who, True Blood, Dexter, Desperate Housewives, Skins are amongst the plethora of shows that have often used concept trailers as well as regular trailers to promote their shows and often, it's a lot more creative and interesting a marketing tool.

In some ways, it's almost like a live moving version of the promotional pictures that virtually every show on the planet are required to do and if you mosey through YouTube, there are some rather delightful ones to try and find for whatever show takes your fancy. Even the majority of the soaps in the UK have done them for big storylines (Hollyoaks in particular seems to have a new one every 3-4 months). Often they are the better method of promoting a series.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Doctor Who - Series 7 Guest Stars/Titles Updates

And we have some updates on the latest of Series 7 of Doctor Who ...

While the title has been mentioned for a while online, the BBC have finally confirmed that episode 1 of Series 7 will in fact be called Asylum Of The Daleks. Executive producer Caroline Skinner has also teased that whatever we think we know about the Daleks, this episode will challenge that. Personally, I can't wait to see what Moffat does with a load of Daleks at his disposal and considering that it's going to be an interesting episode for Amy/Rory as well, this could be a cracking way of opening the new season.

Elsewhere, while both Dougray Scott and Jessica Raine (from Call The Midwife) have been confirmed for Neil Cross's episode, Mark Gatiss's episode will boast the likes of David Warner (Titanic) and Liam Cunningham (Game Of Thrones). Mark's episode will be a historical setting one too and the second episode being filmed to feature Jenna-Louise Coleman's character.

And usually I don't mention audio stuff but as an Irish person, I am delighted that after 49 years (and Aussie/US/alien/robot dog companions) that Big Finish have given the Eighth Doctor an Irish companion called Molly O'Sullivan and played by the excellent Ruth Bradley (Primeval, Love/Hate, Titanic). Apparently Molly is a WW1 voluntary Aid Division nursing assistant that Eight meets and will be featured in the audios - The Great War, Fugitives, The Tangled Web and X And The Daleks as part of a Dark Eyes boxset, due for release in November. The set will also feature guest appearances from Nick Briggs, Peter Egan and Toby Jones to name a few. Yay, an Irish companion at long last.

Dalek News:

Series 7 of Doctor Who is rumoured to be airing on BBC1 from late August.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Skins - Season 6 Review

UK Airdate: January 23rd- March 26th 2012

Rivers Run Dry: After a somewhat excellent return to form for the show in it’s fifth year, the sixth and penultimate series of Skins seemed to have more in common with it’s show’s fourth and by far, worst series of them all.

This season opened up in a particularly chaotic manner with the gang heading off to Morocco and Grace winding up in a car accident after Matty tried to save Franky from a drug dealer, despite their relationship falling to pieces within the first few minutes of the opening episode. Unfortunately by the second episodes, Grace became the third major character to die on the show.

I have to admit that killing off Grace at the start of the series was an interesting enough move. The gang’s relationships certainly became fraught as a result with Matty on the run, Nick resorting to desperate measures to save his brother, Rich disappearing for a good portion of the series and the girls largely at odds with each other as well.

The introduction of Alex in some ways tried to bring the gang back together and while the character’s scenes were deeply entertaining, there were times when he did remind me a little of Maxxie. That being said, at least Alex’s friendship with Liv was the most entertaining of this series to watch. The rest unfortunately paled by comparison.

Franky’s increasingly destructive behaviour stemming from past issues should’ve been compelling to watch but with her constant toying between Matty and Nick, her horrible dalliance with Luke and the seemingly unhealthy co-dependant dynamic she adopted with Mini towards the end of the series, I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed with the character all the more. At least Liv had the sense to actually call Franky out on her annoying behaviour. It’s just a shame that nearly everyone else didn’t by contrast.

Then there was the coupling of Mini and Alo. I’m not going to criticise the baby arc too much because a lot of it was realistic but it did often take too long for them to get their act together and be there for each other and I think we all could’ve done without the plot where Alo slept with a teenage girl as well too and the less said about Matty and Nick’s rivalry for Franky, the better for all.

Of course, there were positives towards this season too. The gang’s attempts to deal with Grace’s death (and her nicely spaced out ghostly appearances) led to some lovely performances by our main characters, both Liv and Alex injected some much needed fun with their friendship in certain parts, the resolution to Franky’s childhood issues were gratifying to watch and the finale was a lovely way to cap off this generation’s story as well.

However, all that being said, I am intrigued by what the upcoming seventh and final series of specials will bring for all three generations of this show. It’s definitely time that this particular series came to an end but at the same time, I do hope that we get a satisfying conclusion to all of the characters we’ve gotten to know since the series arrival in 2007.

DVD Extras: Not a whole lot of excitement here to be honest. There’s some commentaries from cast and crew, some shorts, which are like deleted scenes as well as cast and crew interviews and a trailer but overall, nothing to shout about.

Episode Ratings From 1 To 10

6x01: Everyone = 7/10, 6x02: Rich = 9/10,
6x03: Alex = 8/10, 6x04: Franky = 5/10,
6x05: Mini = 7/10, 6x06: Nick = 6/10,
6x07: Alo = 8/10, 6x08: Liv = 9/10,
6x09: Mini And Franky = 8/10, 6x10: Finale = 9/10

Season 6 is currently available on DVD.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Review of True Blood's 5x03: "Whatever I Am, You Made Me"

Written by Raelle Tucker
Directed by David Petrarca

Pam: “I’m not interested in you or that pathetic excuse for a vampire you had me make, so get out of my bar before I suck you dry.”
Sookie: “Find Tara.”
Pam: “Fuck Tara and fuck you.”

Oh, Pam, did you learn nothing from Eric at all? Being a maker means being responsible and even if you hate Tara with the fire of ten thousand burning suns, you’re responsible for her now, whether you like it not. You should’ve copped on to the consequences of becoming a maker with your trip down memory lane with Eric.

Ah, the flashbacks in this episode were a lot more fascinating that the previous episode. Pam’s desperation to avoid becoming a social pariah once her good time girl days were at an end made a great deal of sense and having forced Eric’s hand by trying to commit suicide was definitely a way to become a vampire alright.

I have to admit these flashbacks have almost made me see Eric in a somewhat different light. His reluctance towards turning Pam in spite of the fondness he clearly had for her back in 1905 was believable enough and I also loved how he managed to put both Bill and Lorena in line as well when the two of them were killing some of Pam’s girls in the mix too.

It’s because of this that I actually hope Pam will step up to the plate and actually help Tara out. Tara’s struggles with being a vampire are something that the show hasn’t really done before (Jessica adapted fairly quickly) and her reckless attempt of ending it all in a sun bed is not how I want to see this particular character written out of the show.

This episode was definitely both Kristin Bauer van Straten and Rutina Wesley’s episode alright. Tara herself turned to Sam and then against him when Sookie and Lafayette caught up with her and she wasted no time in setting up an uncomfortable conversation between Sookie and Alcide as well while Pam had to suffer the ouch end of Sookie’s microwave hands at one point too.

Having Sam share some poignant scenes with Sookie and Tara in this episode made me glad for the absence of Luna and anything Marcus/pack related material in the same way that Debbie’s parents arriving in Bon Temps and interrogating Alcide over their daughter’s whereabouts was a lot more interesting to watch.

I’m glad that Alcide found out what happened to Debbie, even if Sookie’s hand was forced into confessing about it. Alcide does have a right to be mad with Sookie for the time being but I get the impression that once he has the time to actually process it, he will end up forgiving Sookie. It’s not like she killed Debbie for fun after all.

Speaking of fun, the Authority stuff might not be a whole bunch of it but I could definitely watch Nora calling Rosalyn a twat for a bit longer. I’m not sure if I believe her when it came to confessing about the Sanguinista stuff because I still get the impression that she’s still trying to but either way, I do hope that Nora will survive for a bit longer. I’m enjoying her too much as a character to see her go so soon.

Keeping with the enjoyment, when Steve Newlin isn’t being a good little PR lackey for Roman, Salome managed to become a far more interesting character in her own right. Making her into that biblical figure was a masterstroke and certainly more interesting than her sex scenes with Bill, Eric and Roman but her own conflicting viewpoints on mainstreaming with Roman could be setting up something interesting in later episodes.

Compared to Salome, Roman still felt a little one note in this episode to me. I like him as a character and I’m wondering if he genuinely believes that mainstreaming is the only way for vampires to thrive but at the same time, I’m still wary of the character as I should be I think.

As for the rest of the episode, I liked seeing Jessica pursuing Claude (now played by Giles Matthey) in the woods and then trying to connect with Jason without the sex for once but Jason’s whole hook up with the former teacher of his kind of served as a wake up call we had already seen in the previous season. Still, at least this episode made some genuine progress with Jason and Jessica.

Also in “Whatever I Am, You Made Me”

Tara managed to show enough self control and not feed off a young woman at the beginning of the episode. I also loved the scene where she was staring at the stars.

Roman (to Bill/Eric, re Russell): “Do you know what’s more dangerous than a martyr? A 3000 year old vampire who hasn’t fed in over a year. Suffering does not kill the appetite for power, it exacerbates it.”

I hate to point it out but that child vampire is super annoying and hard to take seriously as an Authority member. Also Salome was both Nora’s sponsor and mentor and the iStakes were a clever way to keep Bill/Eric in line.

Steve (to Roman): “Humans are not rational. They are a hundred percent motivated by fear. All they want is to feel safe.”

Sookie: “Why would you lie to me, Sam?”
Sam (re Tara): “Well, she made me promise not to tell you.”

In other subplots, Holly’s kids posted nude pictures of Andy on Facebook, Terry’s gone with Patrick to sort himself out, Lafayette’s new demon came out to play and Hoyt’s become a fang banger. Pam was actually kind of civil to Hoyt in this episode.

Eric: “Lorena, you’ve procreated, he is protective. How sweet.”
Bill: “Who are you?”
Eric: “Eric Northman but to you, the true death.”

Salome: “Do you know what I admire the most about you?”
Bill: “Clearly not my ability to take orders.”
Salome: “Your heart. You still let it rule you. A rare quality amongst our kind.”

Steve’s been a vampire for four months according to this episode and both Bill and Eric managed to see through Salome’s attempts of bonding with them.

Pam: “Let me walk the world with you Mr Northman or watch me die.”

Nora (to Rosalyn): “And as we say in Surrey, sod the fuck off, you cunting twat.”

Standout music: Koko Taylor’s “Whatever I Am, You Made Me” and Garbage’s “Blood For Puppies”.

Pam (re Tara): “You stupid bitch.”

Chronology: From where “Authority Always Wins” left off.

Definitely a stronger episode. Most of the unneeded subplots were scaled back, the Eric/Pam flashbacks definitely more and the focus on Tara’s struggles as a vampire with the Authority storyline flowed more solidly. Overall, “Whatever I Am, You Made Me” was a richer episode because of these little things.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sinbad - Season 1 Character Profiles/Spoilers

And it's less than a month away for transmission (actually a fortnight away), here are some more character details about Sky1's take on Sinbad ...

Sinbad (Elliot Knight): Charismatic and reckless, we first meet him living in Basra with brother Jamil working scams to put food on the table but a tragic turn of events sees him banished to the seas with that funky necklace of his being somewhat responsible for it.

Lord Akbari (Naveen Andrews): Youngest brother of the ruler of Basra, Akbari becomes consumed with revenge when his youngest son is killed and soon enough, both him and Sinbad come into conflict with each other too. Akbari also has a dependant relationship with Taryn, which she uses to her advantage.

Anwar (Dimitri Leonidas): The Providence's doctor and clumsy young man with an optimistic look on life, due to his more sheltered upbringing. Described as being more of an open book as well compared to the rest of the characters.

Rina (Marama Corlett): A secretive and feral thief who puts her own self preservation and safety above everyone else's as the show progresses. She connects with one of the gang as the series progresses as well. I bet I can guess who.

Gunnar (Elliot Cowan): Described as a strong and sexy crewmember of the Providence (the ship Sinbad has), he's also older than our leading man too and also someone who tries to avoid conflict as well as using humour to disguise his past. One of the most promising characters as well.

Nala (Estella Daniels): Beautiful and intelligent daughter of an African diplomat,  both her and her father board the Providence, running away from their past.

Tiger (Tuppence Middleton): A bounty hunter, rumoured to be raised by Tigers of all things or at least that is what she would like people to believe. The true circumstances behind her childhood are a lot more complicated.

Taryn (Orla Brady): A powerful mage with a deadly relationship with Akbari, Taryn is one of the most dangerous characters in the series as her obsession with raising her daughter from the dead is her motivation for abusing magic.

Emir (Igar Naor): A childless guardian of Basra and well loved by the people, he is both distrustful of magic (preferring science) and Taryn in equal measure. His brother also happens to be Akbari.

Razia (Sophie Okonedo): A warrior queen ruling a water tribe that currently reside in the ruins of Sindh. She also keeps a carnivorous roc as a pet and will not eat until her tribe have done so. She has a strict moral code.

Anicetus (Timothy Spall): A mysterious old man that both Sinbad and Rina encounter in the series and he'll have something of an effect on the crew.

Jamil (Devon Anderson): Sinbad's older brother who is a worrier and mistrustful compared to his more reckless sibling.

I've got to admit that this is shaping up to be rather impressive looking. I'm not sure if I'll review episode by episode or leave it for my TV jumble thing but either way, I will be watching this series when it starts up, that is a guarantee. What does everyone else think of this? Worth giving a go?

Character Profiles:
Season 1 Trailer:

Sinbad airs on Sky1, Sundays at 7pm from July 8th.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Doctor Who - Series 7 Rumour/Sad News

Aka, to be taken with an extreme pinch of salt because chances are this is either a) complete rubbish or b) kind of true but not entirely, so here goes already ...

'Doctor Who' is reportedly going to shake things up with a lesbian storyline when Madame Vastra falls for the Doctor's new sidekick, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Madama Vastra - a lizard-like Silurian alien with a penchant for women - will reportedly fall for the Doctor's new sidekick Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, on the popular BBC One programme. A source told the Daily Star newspaper: ''Steven Moffat loves to shake up the show. What better way than a lesbian storyline?''

Head writer and executive producer Steven was inundated with requests to bring back the likeable Madame Vastra, who first appeared in 2011.

The cheeky character, who was shown sharing a house in Victorian London with her girlfriend Jenny, helped the Time Lord rescue Amy Pond and her baby Melody and was a real hit with the sci-fi show's fans. 'Emmerdale' actress Jenna-Louise, 26, is taking over from Karen Gillan and joining Matt Smith, 29, as the Doctor's latest sexy sidekick. Matt confessed: ''Jenna brings a really different energy to the show - one which I think is very interesting.''

Personal Opinion: Personally I would love if Clara was a gay character because from my point of view, we're due a gay female companion but I can't help but think that between Neve McIntosh recently joining Twitter and Moffat joking about her joining the mammals (she was at that convention last week with Matt) and most sites discussing Clara's sexuality (due to not knowing anything about it), that this might be rubbish. Currently being filmed though is one of Gatiss's episodes which supposedly features a submarine. He's also rumoured to be scribing a Victorian Silurian adventure for Series 7 too, so that's probably where else this latest rumour has surfaced.

What does everyone else think?

Also in sadder news, actress Caroline John who played Third Doctor companion, Dr Liz Shaw sadly passed away on June 5th. The news of her death was confirmed yesterday online. It's awful that in less than eighteen months we've lost three Classic Series actors and naturally, my thoughts go out to her family and friends at this difficult time.

Series 7 Rumour:
Caroline John:

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in the Autumn.

Dexter - Season 7 Truth Brings Light Trailer

It's what I am. It's all I am. I can accept that ... but can she?

It's amazing that seven seasons in and Dexter can still come up with fascinating concept trailers in order to whet viewers appetites for the upcoming season. This time around it's another gorgeous thematic one focusing on 'Truth Brings Light' as Deb is now privy to what her brother really gets up to. Showtime, once again, you've outdone yourself. Looking forward to the new season even more now.

Season 7 - Truth Brings Light Trailer:

Dexter Season 7 airs Sundays 9pm on Showtime from September 30th.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

True Love - Five Stories In Margate

And for the last four days, BBC1 in some god awful scheduling decided to air this five part series, written and directed by Dominic Savage but when it came to True Love, don't expect your cockles to be warmed anytime soon. Here's a rundown of the five episodes we had on offer ...

Episode 1 - Nick: In which David Tennant played a happily married man, Nick who decided to cheat on his lovely wife Ruth (Joanne Froggatt) when his first love Serena (Vicky McClure) briefly returned to Margate from Canada. The format seemed simple enough with Nick and Serena even considering running away together before going their seperate ways and Nick returning to his wife, who seemed to be aware that he had strayed but decided not to confront him on it. Solid performances  from the main three but it felt a little lacking in parts.

Episode 2 - Paul: Easily the weakest edition of the bunch and while I hate to criticise actors unless I have to, I found Ashley Walters incredibly wooden as Paul. His discontentment with wife Michelle (an excellent Lacey Turner, who should've been the viewpoint character in this episode instead of Paul) really felt hollow and I found myself pretty unsympathetic towards him when the mysterious Stella (Jamie Winstone being rather underutilised) managed to scam him out of £5000. It didn't help either that Michelle learned of his adultery and still stuck with him in the end. Perhaps it was realistic, given how madly in love the episode depicted her to be with Paul but it still left a nasty taste in the end.

Episode 3 - Holly: I knew when this series would air that Billie Piper would get the most interesting edition and I was right. Okay, so seeing Holly going from an affair with a married David (Charlie Creed-Miles) to starting one with her student, Karen (Kaya Scodelario) might have raised a lot of ethical debate (the Daily Mail had a field day with this one) but the chemistry between Piper and Scodelario was definitely there and while the ending was somewhat dubious, it was definitely the least depressing of the first three instalments and the better written one too.

Episode 4 - Sandra: A solid episode focusing on Sandra (Jane Horrocks) dealing with her youngest child leaving home, her marriage to David (Charlie Creed-Miles) falling apart and her growing attraction to a newcomer to Margate named Ismali (Alexander Siddig). The ending for this one was a little different, with Sandra ultimately choosing herself and taking her leave from her marital home. Also, much as I disliked David in the previous episode, I felt a bit bad for him in this one.

Episode 5 - Adrian: Now this isn't something you see everyday - lonely single dad, Adrian (David Morrissey on utterly fine form) using the internet to strike up a relationship with the younger Kathy (Gemma Chan) and for it to be an actual, real relationship with both parties genuinely in love with the other. Of course, there's the hiccup of Karen's friend, Lorraine (Jo Woodcock) trying to get her claws into Adrian but ultimately love actually won out with Adrian and Kathy making a proper go of things.

An overall analysis of this and I have to admit, it's something of a mixed bag to be honest. The stories are decent but mostly unoriginal and uninspiring when it came to matters of the heart (bar Holly and Adrian's, the series strongest ones too) and with the wealth of talent that the five episodes had, it would've been nice if the episodes had been an hour long, ditched some of the more intrusive music and had aired in a primetime slot (the fact it aired after 10.30pm showed a lack of confidence in it from the BBC) but as an improvisation experiment went, True Love isn't entirely without it's merits, though I'm still not sure if it lived up to the title either. I did however like the interweaving of a lot of the characters throughout the five episodes, though that format was done years ago in The Street but it still worked well here.

True Love will be available on DVD from June 25th and can be watched again on BBCiPlayer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

White Collar - Season 4 Preview

While I'm not a big watcher of the program, I do have a thing for Matt Bomer and I have seen enough of the first three seasons to give the fourth one a whirl. Why it can only be White Collar of course.

The end of last season saw Bomer's conman character, Neal Caffrey escape from the feds for a new life and this season with the aid of an agent played by Mehki Pfifer, it seems that Neal is going to be brought back into the fold whether he likes it or not, though Peter at least attempts to aid Neal's escape as best he can. Of course when Neal does return, there is also the issue of a love interest and an Irish mobster to tackle in the fourth season too.

I actually do find this show a lot of fun. It's fast paced, diverting, has a great cast and crew and while in the past it's pulled some fun guest stars like Mark Sheppard, Eliza Dushku and Joe Manganiello, this season it seems that will be getting the likes of Rebecca Mader, Victor Garber to name a few of the people to be seen this year. Overall, it should be another fun addition to this summer's TV schedule.

Season 4 Trailers:

White Collar's fourth season airs Tuesdays at 9pm on USA Network from July 10th. A UK broadcast has yet to be confirmed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Merlin - Season 4 Review

UK Airdate: October 1st –December 24th 2011

As the show enters it’s fourth season, we lose one King and gain another as Arthur’s first year in power still sees him fighting against Morgana’s various antics, coming into his own as a ruler while Merlin also sees himself dealing with more enemies closer to the castle as per usual.

Long Live The King: Something happened to this show during this particular season because while Merlin has always been a popular series, for some reason it seemed to have blown up even bigger than before.

Perhaps pushing the show into direct competition with The X Factor was the right thing to do on BBC’s part, maybe it was the writing (which has become stronger with each passing year) or maybe it was the simple fact that this is the only fantasy programme that airs in the UK that is an actual direct threat to Doctor Who but either way, this show’s continued success is definitely something to be chuffed with nonetheless.

Almost gone are the days of modest little adventures (though there are a few here and there still in this series) and here are the days of powerful opening episodes. Losing two prominent characters in the two-part opening story was one thing but the overdue exit of Uther in the season’s third episode still managed to make an impact and give the show the boot up the backside it desperately needed.

As a ruler, Arthur is definitely not perfect, sometimes listening to bad counsel, courtesy of his uncle Agravaine as well as his inability to directly deal with the ongoing threat of Morgana but unlike his father, he’s definitely learning to be a more open minded leader and while his exiling Gwen in one of the season’s strongest episodes is definitely a shocker, at least he’s man enough to eventually reverse the horrible decision by marrying her in the season finale, another two-parter.

Arthur’s growth is definitely more gradual but at least it’s happening and while there can be a certain repetitiveness to some of his banter with Merlin, it’s still a joy to watch most of the time. As for Merlin himself, it’s definitely been an interesting year for him too but once again, with the new dynamics and stuff going on, it’s almost a shame that he didn’t finally get to out himself magically though. Hopefully the upcoming fifth season will definitely put that to order though.

Of course, while there are definitely stronger episodes and a slew of impressive guest stars (Phil Davis as an assassin, James Callis as a man trying to get to a dragon and Lindsay Duncan as a Queen), the stuff with the dragons are definitely some of the best things we had this season. I wasn’t surprised that our new dragon Aithusa defected to a particular character in the finale but it was a nice twist nonetheless.

However, even though this is easily the series strongest season yet, it’s not entirely perfect. The Knights for example are pretty nice to look but apart from one episode where they fight over a demon lady (the season’s weakest episode), they often seem to be relegated to eye candy, which is a shame considering that I wanted to learn a bit more about Leon, Gwaine, Elyan and Perceival individually but at least Lancelot got some memorable moments before he departed the show and maybe Tristan and Isolde should’ve been held off until next season, given that they were sorely underused in the finale.

As for the villains of the piece – Morgana needs to change the record already. I love her to bits as a character but apart from one or two sly moments, she’s not as well served this season as she was in the previous one and her antics in the finale pretty much repeat what she did in the previous year’s finale too.

Similarly, we lose the excellent Morgause and we’re stuck with Agravaine, a character so annoyingly transparent, it’s actually rather insulting that it takes practically forever for most of main players to deduce what his true motives really are (which seem to consist of being Morgana’s lackey and little else). It’s a shame because Nathaniel Parker is a solid actor but he’s rather wasted here so by the time Agravaine is killed, it’s hard to really care. Even Helios, who only appears in the last three episodes is a far more convincing threat than Agravaine.

That being said, these niggles aside, there’s no denying that the show has definitely shown a lot of improvement since it started back in September 2008. I can only hope that the show will continue to cast its charming spell over me, because four years on, I’m still rather enchanted with this wonderful show.

DVD Extras: It’s the usual scenario with this show, whether you’ve bought the complete series or the split season variety. There’s a smattering of commentaries from the cast and crew, behind the scenes filming, deleted scenes, outtakes and some storyboards too to keep you all entertained.

Episode Ratings:

4x01: The Darkest Hour Part 1 = 8/10, 4x02: The Darkest Hour Part 2 = 8/10,
4x03: The Wicked Day = 9/10, 4x04: Aithusa = 7/10,
4x05: His Father’s Son = 7/10, 4x06: A Servant Of Two Masters = 9/10,
4x07: The Secret Sharer = 8/10, 4x08: Lamia = 5/10,
4x09: Lancelot Du Lac = 9/10, 4x10: A Herald Of The New Age = 7/10,
4x11: The Hunter’s Heart = 7/10, 4x12: The Sword In The Stone Part 1 = 8/10,
4x13: The Sword In The Stone Part 2 = 9/10.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Review of True Blood's 5x02: "Authority Always Wins"

Written by Mark Hudis
Directed by Michael Lehmann

Roman (to Bill/Eric): “We are the Authority. I am the Authority.”

Ever since he left Law And Order: SVU (the only show from that franchise I watch), I was hoping that Christopher Meloni would be back on our TV screens pretty soon and as Roman, the leader of the Authority, this might be the perfect platform for him to gain a whole bunch of new fans.

I’m not gonna lie about Roman – I sort of need to see more to form a better impression because while this episode certainly gave him a decent introduction, it didn’t feel as magnetic as the debuts that characters such as Maryann, Russell and Marnie have all had but it was better than Rene’s debut.

Roman seems to be of the belief that human and vampire co-existence is a necessity due to the fact that humans outnumber vampires in a pretty large way but I have a feeling that there’s a massive difference between what Roman might agree with as the leader of the Authority and what he actually feels himself. In other words, I wouldn’t be all that shocked if Roman’s attitude towards humanity mirrored Russell’s in more ways that one.

Roman wasn’t the only big vampire to make his debut in this episode as well. Aside from Nora, we had a group of Authority members who seemed conflicted on whether both Bill and Eric should live or die and then there was the duo of Salome and Dieter, who got to interrogate Bill and Eric for good measure.

I have to admit out of all the new vampires introduced in this one that Dieter stood out more than both Roman and Salome. His interrogation of whether Bill believed in the literal interpretation of the vampire bible (humans as cattle) was more fun that Salome’s slight attempts of flirting with Eric before injecting him with silver (something which Bill also had to endure).

Sadly though, there wasn’t really much of Nora to savour in this episode. Her loyalty of Eric was still endearing to watch and it was nice that both Eric and Bill tried to protect her as well but apart from being slapped by Salome and denied her right to take part in the Vampyr version of Our Father, she didn’t get much of real interest to do.

Also disappointingly enough, Tara’s transformation into a vampire felt less chaotic than it should have. Trashing Sookie’s house is a bit old school at this point in the series and even attacking both Sookie and Lafayette seemed to lack a certain finesse too. That being said though, Pam’s unbridled glee when Tara took a bite out of her best friend was actually pretty amusing though.

As for Tara’s declaration of not forgiving either Sookie or Lafayette – she’s got a right to be angry at both of them. She didn’t get a choice in being made as a vampire and unlike Steve Newlin, I’m not entirely sure that Tara is going to be embracing being a member of the undead either. It especially didn’t help that Pam couldn’t wait to get out of there after she had instructed Tara not to harm either Sookie or Lafayette either.

Speaking of Pam – it’s nice that we got some flashbacks to her and Eric’s first meeting back in the early 1900s but it would’ve been nicer if it had been more than two tiny scenes. I’m guessing due to the stuff we’ve seen in the trailers for this season that we will get some more on them, especially given Pam’s current anxiety over Eric not returning any of her calls.

Keeping with anxiety – Jessica managed to have the most fun out of the vampires in this episode until Steve gate crashed her party and tried to buy Jason off her. I did enjoy the almost childish ‘scrap’ between Jessica and Steve though and it’s also nice that even if Jessica isn’t ready to commit to Jason, at least she’ll protect him from Newlin anyway she can.

As for the last scene with Russell being alive and well – I was expecting a scene like that but I thought maybe in another few weeks time but either, I am happy that Russell is back on our screens but at the same time, I also get the impression that Roman and company have something to do it and that’s not going to end well for Bill and Eric, is it?

Also in “Authority Always Wins”

Alcide has become the pack master of Shreveport but he doesn’t want the job and Emma is a wolf while Luna and Sam fought because of Martha.

Lafayette (re Sookie/Tara): “Do something.”
Pam: “I am. I’m laughing.”

Added to the opening credits this week were Christopher Meloni (Roman), Valentina Cervi (Salome) and Denis O’Hare (Russell).

Martha: “Our son was not perfect but he deserves respect.”
Alcide: “I disagree.”

Ginger: “”Why are you all dirty?”
Pam: “I was in the ground. What’s your excuse?”

Even I don’t fancy Eric, even I’ll admit that he looked rather dapper in the flashback scenes with Pam, who was a brothel madam in her past life. Eric saved her from being murdered.

Sam (re Martha): “She just lost her son.”
Luna: “She just ate her son, fucking lunatic.”

Lafayette (re Tara): “I turned her into the thing she hates most.”
Sookie: “We didn’t have a choice. She was dead.”
Lafayette: “And I should’ve left her dead, Sook.”

Why didn’t Bill, Eric and Nora try to hide under their beds when they were being given the UV light treatment in the cells? It might have been a good idea to have tried it. Also, Tara got some alarm silver spray in her face as well.

Andy: “Jason Stackhouse, have you slept with every woman in this town?”
Jason: “I don’t know. Close I guess.”

Eric: “You’re not afraid?”
Pam: “I’m not a stranger to dead bodies.”

Jason and Andy discussed their sex lives in this episode and they discovered Debbie’s car in this one too. Oh and Terry/Patrick talked about a former army buddy of theirs who might have started the fires on both of their places.

Salome: “It’s wonderful to be a vampire, isn’t it?”
Eric: “Generally yes, right now, not so much.”

Jessica (to Steve): “Look at you – fang boner and real boner. You are pathetic. Jason is my friend. I do not sell my friends. Get the fuck out of my house.”

Standout music: Bosco Del Ray’s “The Authority Song”.

Tara (to Sookie/Lafayette): “I will never forgive either of you.”

Roman (to Bill/Eric): “Co-existence with humans is not an option, it is a necessity. It is merciful, it is just, it is vital, not to mention they outnumber us a thousand to one.”

Chronology: From where “Turn!Turn!Turn!” left off.

“Authority Always Wins” was a bit of a letdown compared to the previous episode. Not really a bad episode but at the same time, it didn’t feel like a whole lot really happened either and I’m still not sure where the show can go with the Authority but I’ll be interested in finding out though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dexter - Season 7 First Look

And with three months to go, the first bits and pieces for the seventh and penultimate season of Dexter has began to surface.

The first poster for the seventh year seems a little simplistic compared to past ones but with the first episode set to deal with Deb finally realising that her brother kills people in his spare time, I'm sure better promo pictures will surface closer to transmission.

In terms of guest stars this season, it seems that Rome actor Ray Stevenson has already been cast as a Russian mobster for Dexter to go toe to toe with but the casting of former Chuck actress, Yvonne Strahovski as Hannah, a mysterious woman who might be more dangerous than she lets on might be the best casting yet. Perhaps she's an evil version of Lumen (I miss Lumen, by the way) but either way, her casting intrigues me the most for this upcoming season.

Season 7 Trailer:

Season 7 of Dexter airs Sundays at 9pm on Showtime from September 30th.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Homeland - Season 2 Mission/Obsession Trailers

It might be another three and a half months before the arrival of Season 2 of Homeland on both US and UK airwaves but at least Showtime are tantalising us with some nice trailers.

Why kill a man when you can kill an idea?

Last season, Brody can close to completing his mission, until Dana managed to intervene but this season, it does seem like he's going to be back on track when it comes to completing Abu Nazir's ultimate agenda.

You wait, you lay low, then you come to life.

And the last time we saw Carrie, she had made a connection with Brody and Nazir's son, only for the ECT to have kicked in. We're promised that she's going to get her memory back though.

Brody Trailer:
Carrie Trailer:

Homeland Season 2 airs Sundays at 10pm on Showtime from September 30th and will premiere on Channel 4 shortly afterwards.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

K9 - Series 2 Development

The Sarah Jane Adventures may no longer be with us and Torchwood may be stuck in some kind of limbo (I wish RTD/BBC would put us out of our misery and confirm something on that show's future) but it seems that the Australian filmed K9 series will actually be coming back for a second series after all, despite it being nearly two years since the first one aired.

According to producer Paul Tams, both him and Bob Baker are entering a new partnership as the show heads into production. Once again, there'll be 26 half hour episodes with the original cast again and K9 himself has been tweaked, following some criticism from fans on how the robot dog looked in the first series.

The first series wasn't that bad (at some point, I'll do a Series 1 review), so hopefully the second one will be a little tighter in terms of writing and cohesion.

Press Release:

K9's first series is currently available on DVD and will air for Canadian viewers on BBC Kids along with The Sarah Jane Adventures from September.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Doctor Who - Series 7 New Picture/Returning Monster Rumour

It's Wednesday and there's a new picture to behold of our future TARDIS Team ...

Yes, it's another pose of the Doctor and Clara, as played by Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman. It's not bad but would it have killed the BBC to have released one of them in character? I think this is the last one we're getting for a while too but I could be wrong.

Meanwhile and once again, the Ice Warriors are rumoured to be returning to Doctor Who with the Daily Star insisting that Mark Gatiss will be writing for them in the second half of Series 7. Seeing as they were rumoured as far as Series 3 with Martha's first story, maybe it would be nice for one of Clara's first adventures to feature them. They are overdue a return, aren't they?

Doctor Who will return to BBC1 this Autumn.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Lady Is A Vamp

Okay, this one is a little shorter than usual but I've been catching up on other things ...

Bedlam: I have to be honest, I wasn't that enamoured with the first series, so I wasn't too broken up by the idea of an entire new cast for the second run and so far, it's looking pretty good. Ellie and Max are a somewhat better ghost busting duo compared to Jed and Ryan and while Kate, Kiera and Dan are pretty forgettable as characters, Warren is improving and the fact that's there's a continued mystery with that block at Bedlam and Ellie and a mystery man with a tattoo on the back of his head, this might actually be a lot more watchable now.

Game Of Thrones: What a way to end this season. The last two episodes were some of the best television I've seen so far this year. The fight at Blackwater coupled with defining character moments for Cersei, Joffrey, Sansa, the Hound, Tyrion and Shae was one thing but the finale with Daenerys trip into the House of the Undying, Jon winning Ygritte's confidence, Maergerys making her moves into power and the arrival of the White Walkers - all I can say is that after a few little hiccups, this season was every bit as compelling as the first one and certainly has left me wanting more.

Hit & Miss: Well, it certainly lives up to it's title alright. It's definitely been interesting to see Mia balance killing people for a living and trying to raise a family that one minute seem warm to her and then the next minute are treating her with disdain. However I do wish the show would find some way of getting rid of John. Having to see him sleeping with Riley and getting her pregnant was not a plot I particularly wanted to see and while I'm glad Ben did have a believable reaction to learning about Mia being a pre-op transsexual but I'm starting to think that Eddie isn't as friendly as he seems and I'd like some answers to that man who keeps watching the farm as well.

The Vampire Diaries: Despite finding Klaus utterly annoying in places, this has been a wonderful season to watch and the ending was certainly unexpected. I know the books turned Elena into a vampire but I thought the series would either avoid it altogether or wait until the last ever episode to do so. Still, it should make for a great dynamic next season but can we please get some new villains? I didn't like that we ended up with Bonnie storing Klaus in Tyler's body to save her friends from all being killed. It's the one important thing the show desperately needs now.

- It seems that Gugu Mbatha-Raw may not be returning for the second season of Touch.
- Production on the third season of the US version of Being Human has begun with Kristen Hager to return as series regular as Nora.
- ITV viewers can finally watch the fifth series of Primeval from Saturday at 6pm.
- Valerie Cruz will play Major Joy Mendez, a military officer who interacts with Carrie in the second season of Homeland.
- Spartacus's upcoming third season will be it's last one according to Starz.
- Jorge Garcia and Maggie Grace will be reunited in an upcoming episode of Californication.
- Victor Webster will be in an upcoming episode of White Collar.
- Catherine Tate is set to become a regular in the upcoming ninth season of The Office.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Review of True Blood's 5x01: "Turn, Turn, Turn"

Written by Brian Buckner
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Lafayette (re Tara): “Hold up, turn her for us.”
Sookie: “What?”
Pam: “Turn her? I don’t even like her.”

And as vital plot twists go, you can forget about Bella Swan and Elena Gilbert because the most shocking lady to be made into a vampire is Tara Thornton and it’s Pam of all the vampires who got to make Tara into the very thing that she would not want to be under any circumstances either.

There’s a part of me that felt like I should be bothered by Tara’s sudden transformation but given that Sookie seemed incapable of healing her (don’t think microwave hand ability can go there) and Lafayette was the one to appeal to Pam first with the request, I think this could be a potentially interesting plot for both Tara and Pam this upcoming season.

The end scene with a newly made Tara on the attack was a pretty good way of ending an episode that mostly featured Sookie and Lafayette dealing with their losses and covering things up to a great detail. Debbie was being buried off screen, Alcide was being kept in the dark and Lafayette was more than keen to emphasise the importance of a goodbye scene as well.

I liked the pairing of these two characters in this episode and I liked that for once, both Bill and Eric elected to stay out of Sookie’s business as well for a change. Of course, given that they were being hunted by the Authority and with the arrival of ‘sister’ Nora, at least the two of them weren’t idle in this episode either.

I loved the friendship that’s appeared between Bill and Eric now. Seasons ago, Eric would’ve left Bill to die after that car explosion but Eric right now helped Bill before Nora breezed in and got rid of Hayes for both of them. As for Nora – love the casting, love the banter between her and Eric and the sex scene with them as well at the docking crates as well was pretty fun too.

Making an impression was something Nora managed to do in spades. Her willingness to betray the Authority for Eric was a nice way of endearing herself but I could’ve done without the brother/sister banter, especially given that they’re (thankfully) not biologically related to each other. Still, their scenes together with each other and Bill were definitely the highlights of a very joyful opening episode.

As for the Authority – they did catch up and managed to arrest Bill, Eric and Nora in the end and it doesn’t take a genius to reckon that they’re also the ones keeping Russell locked up and feeding him stray humans as well. I’m sort of glad we didn’t actually see Russell in this episode given how much was going on but I do hope they don’t drag his actual return out too long though.

Speaking of returns – I love Steve Newlin. As a vampire, he’s super fun to watch and his profession of love to a naked and gagged Jason was pretty damn amusing as well. Most people called it back in the second season that Newlin was in the closet but now he’s an out and proud gay American vampire. Unfortunately, he really does need to work on coping with rejection because polite as he was, Jason did make it clear that he’s a woman only type of guy.

Keeping with Jason – I felt bad for him in this episode. Jessica might have rescued him from Steve in this episode but she also kept him at arm’s length during a house party at Bill’s and Hoyt was pretty nasty to him as well. I mean, Hoyt does have a right to be mad at Jason but my sympathy is beginning wear off a little with Hoyt now. Jason did make some efforts to change in this episode when he rejected Cammy. The Jason of old certainly wouldn’t have.

Last but no least – I really do not care for Martha, even if she did have a right to know what happened to Marcus and vent her rage at Sam and Alcide in this episode and I probably could’ve done without seeing the pack eating up Marcus’s remains as well. I did however like the plot with Terry and Patrick a little more, especially given that it seems like someone out to kill them. It should be an interesting little subplot over the next few weeks to watch.

Also in “Turn, Turn, Turn”

Much as I love the reminders of the previous season antics, did we really need to see the Sookie/Debbie/Tara scene again?

Bill: “Sookie.”
Eric: “Fuck Sookie. What, did you not hear her tonight? She rejected both of us.”

New to the opening credits this season are Scott Foley (Patrick), Lucy Griffiths (Nora) and Michael McMillian (Steve). Expect at least two other names next week.

Pam (re Tara): “She smells.”
Sookie: “Is that bad?”
Pam: “Can’t imagine it’s good.”

Steve: “I’m a gay vampire American and I love you, Jason Stackhouse.”

I liked the flashbacks with Sookie and Tara as kids, great casting on that front too. Also, where the hell is Jesus’s body?

Jessica (to Steve): “I’m gonna give you a choice – you let him go or the true death? There is no in between.”

Sookie (to Lafayette, re Debbie): “I decided to pull the trigger instead. I wanted to kill her. Does that sound like self-defence to you?”

It was a little jarring to see Eric being chummy with Alcide on the phone after seeing Lafayette being quite mean to him but it was interesting though. More so than Holly’s sons or Andy’s plot with that fella at Merlotte’s.

Eric: “You always were an amazing liar.”
Nora: “Even the best of liars can be ended.”

Sookie: “You won’t want me to stay with you once you’ve heard why I can’t stay with you.”
Alcide: “Whatever it is, I can handle it.”

Standout music: Paul McCartney & Wings “Silly Love Songs”, Morning Jacket’s “Turn, Turn, Turn” and Jessica/Jason’s take on “Cherry Bomb” while playing Guitar Hero.

Eric (to Bill, re Nora): “We fight like siblings but fuck like champions.”

Sookie: “Lafayette!”

Chronology: Straight from where “And When I Die” left off and the trailer for the rest of the season means we’re in for another bumpy ride this year.

For an opening episode, “Turn, Turn, Turn” was actually a ridiculous amount of fun to watch. I know some fans are divided on the Tara plot and feel there’s too much going on but personally, I find the former interesting and the latter pretty much the same. Once again, I am hooked to this show.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Doctor Who - Series 7 Second Picture

And a second picture of the Doctor and Clara, aka Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman has been released by the BBC to whet audiences appetite for the upcoming seventh series of Doctor Who. It's good but we do need a proper photoshoot with these two pretty soonish. Expect a third one released on Wednesday.

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Autumn.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

True Blood - Season 5 13 Teasers

And in conjunction with the arrival of tonight's premiere episode, TV Guide have 13 teasers for True Blood's fifth season.

1. Sookie's future: As if the Stackhouse home hasn't seen enough damage, now there's at least one, possibly two dead bodies in Gran's kitchen— both of which could be blamed on Sookie herself. "She has a lot on her plate," Ball says. "She just blew Debbie Pelt's [Brit Morgan] head off with a shotgun, and her best friend just got shot in the head, so there's a lot to deal with just taking care of those things." Still, that's not to say there isn't hope on the horizon. "Sookie may have renounced both Bill [Stephen Moyer] and Eric [Alexander Skarsgard], but that doesn't mean that there's not other hot supernatural men that are interested in her." Alcide, perhaps? As for Paquin, she says Sookie's decision to give up both Bill and Eric gets "complicated."

2. Bill and Eric team up: After killing Vampire Authority member Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) together, Bill and Eric will really have to rely on each other this season, which may make their shared recent heartbreak easier. "This is the season of the bromance," Ball says. "Bill and Eric have a rocky history, we all know this, and it got particularly rocky when they both wanted the same thing: Sookie. But when Sookie is out of the picture, there just might be hope for friendship." Still, taking on the most powerful vampire organization won't be easy. "You don't want to be on the bad side of the Authority," he adds.

3. The Vampire Authority: Speaking of the Authority, Ball likens the organization to "the Catholic Church for vampires," noting that Christopher Meloni's Authority Guardian Roman is quite like the Pope. "The Vampire Authority is the governing body for vampires across the world. They're incredibly old, incredibly powerful, and not very forgiving. If you're a vampire, there's a very good chance they know almost everything about you." There's also a vampire civil war brewing between the mainstreamers, like the Authority, and the Sangunistas, a faction that believes humans are just food. "No pun intended, everything is at stake," says new castmember Carolyn Hennesy, who plays Authority Chancellor Rosalyn Harris. "It's the fate of vampires all over the world — those who want mainstreaming, those who do not — and even the Authority itself is divided. If the Vatican is divided, where do they go?"

4. From bromance to romance: Just because Sookie has given up on Bill and Eric, doesn't mean they'll be without lovin' this season. In fact, they'll both have a new love interest, who just happens to be the same lady. (Déjà vu!) Authority Chancellor Salome — yes, that Salome — will be taken with the duo. "She has a different relationship with both of them," portrayer Valentina Cervi says. "She will have feelings for both of them during the season. She's full of love and needs to be loved." Also, we'll meet Eric's devoted vampire sister, Nora (Lucy Griffiths), also sired by Godric. "She loves him very much," Griffiths says. "She would do anything to make him happy, and she thinks she knows what would make him happy, and it may or may not be right."

5. For the good of the pack: With former packmaster Marcus dead, the pack is now without a leader and they'll certainly be on the hunt to find out what happened to him. Will Alcide take his place as the rightful new packmaster? "[Marcus' death] will cause the pack to split into two factions: One that will immediately worship Alcide as the new packmaster, and the other faction that believes that he has no claim," Manganiello says. "Werewolves are a very tribal and ritualistic bunch, and you will find out this season how deep that goes. Because he didn't do it in the ritualistic fashion, they'll oppose him, and therefore there will be fighting within the pack."

6. The death of Debbie Pelt: Ding dong, the wolf is dead! Sorry, we've been holding that in a while. But certain characters may not feel the same way as we do. "You know that Alcide's going to find out she's dead, and there will be fallout," Manganiello says. "He and Sookie will deal with it. The question is how he's going to deal with it, which is a very complex emotional web." With Eric and Bill gone, could the time be ripe for Alcide and Sookie to finally get together? "There are some complicated things that need to be dealt with," he adds. "Timing has always been an issue for them, but maybe there's a way through that?"

7. Russell returns! The former King of Mississippi has been rescued from his cement grave, but the question is: Who helped him? O'Hare would only tease that we'll find out sooner rather than later, but added that we may see a different Russell than we have before — one who may not immediately seek revenge on Bill and Eric. "He's never a character who's going to adhere to any conventional thinking," he says. "He's also a guy who has a lot of mixed motives. He gets what he wants and he learns how to forgive when he needs to." But will Russell be making a big public splash once again this season? "He goes public unintentionally," O'Hare adds. "Something happens and he gets caught." Plus: He's getting a new love interest!

8. So, is Tara dead or what? As we previously reported, Tara (Rutina Wesley) will still be on the show, but the big question is how? That will be answered in the season premiere. "We will see a lighter side to her," Wesley promises. "I hope we do get back to that Season 1 Tara where she has that flippant sense of humor that we all love. I just think she's guarded and I know sometimes it comes off as being angry at everyone in the world, but it's all earned."

9. Jessica, all grown up: Since Bill is dealing with the impending vampire civil war, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) will have the run of Bon Temps. "She's starting to grow up, she's not really a baby vamp anymore," Ball says. "She's going to do what any teenager would do when her parents are out of town... party!" It won't be all fun and games this season, though. Jessica will have to navigate her new relationship with Jason (Ryan Kwanten) — with ex-boyfriend Hoyt (Jim Parrack) watching from the sidelines. "They're extremely attracted to one another, and there's a natural chemistry there, but it was born out of this guilty thing that they did," Woll says. "That's rough and they're going to have to overcome that somehow."

10. Steve Newlin... vampire? The former vampire-hater is now a vampire, but he'll still fit right in. "The role that [the Authority] finds for him in the vampire community is really smart on their choice," Michael McMillian says. But before Steve can get down to business, he has some unresolved issues to deal with. Namely, that Jason once slept with his wife. "He and Jason obviously have history," he says. "Jason was hand selected in Season 2 to be the el primo Soldier of the Sun. Steve has just been fascinated from Day 1. In his eye, to use a biblical reference, Jason is Steve's Adam. But Jason is instrumental to Steve's downfall because he slept with his wife." Fortunately for Jason, he'll have Jessica on his side. "Anytime you try to cause trouble for Jason, you're causing trouble for Jessica," McMillian adds.

11. A Pam-tastic voyage into the past: We've seen how Eric met Godric and how Bill became a vampire, but this season, it's Pam's (Kristin Bauer van Straten) turn. "We're going to see how Pam and Eric found each other and we learn how Pam became a vampire," Ball says. But Pam isn't the only focus of this year's flashbacks. We "even get a glimpse into some of Sookie and Jason's past," he adds.

12. Magic isn't gone! Marnie (Fiona Shaw) may be out of our lives, but that doesn't mean magic is. In fact, Lauren Bowles says, "Those powers are definitely going to be utilized because it's kind of a free-for-all this year. The power of the goddess can be used in many ways and will be relied on."

13. And neither are the faeries! Sookie's faerie family will be back in full force this season, but they're different from what we saw before, according to Giles Matthey, who plays Claude, the brother to Sookie's now dead faerie godmother, Claudine (Lara Pulver). "The role that my character plays is a mentor figure and he cares about Sookie," he says. Still, there are some who aren't pleased that Claudine was drained by a vampire.

TV Guide:

So pleased it's finally back. It's been long enough.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

First Look: Bert And Dickie

And for those of you who want to see the lovely Matt Smith playing a role that isn't a bowtie wearing alien this year, well towards the end of this month you can see him in the Olympic themed one-off, Bert And Dickie due to air on BBC1 and BBCAmerica, where on that station it's titled Going For Gold - The 48 Olympics.

The 90 minute drama sees Matt playing the role of gold medallist Bert Bushnell along with Sam Hoare playing the role of Dickie Burnell who have to overcome their own adversity during the 1948 Olympics, especially when the British committee are keen on letting it die and it's in this piece we get to see the formation of the Austerity Olympics. Definitely one to give a look at I think.


Bert And Dickie airs on BBCAmerica from July 25th and on BBC1 before then.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Doctor Who - Series 7 Exclusives

And while the name has still yet to be confirmed, we finally have a picture together of our new team comprising of Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman ...

Here are the Doctor and Clara, posing for their first of many photos together that the BBC will be releasing over the next few days. I have to admit both Matt and Jenna do look lovely together and I can't wait to see what their dynamic is going to be from Christmas onwards. The episode this one is from is going to be the 11th  episode of Series 7.

A guest star confirmed for the episode that was being shot last week is Dougray Scott, best known for his roles in Desperate Housewives and United. No idea what his character is going to be though but he does look dressed in period (ish) gear, doesn't he?

Meanwhile, both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill were on set this week to do some pick up shots for the fourth episode of Series 7 and not only was an Ood spotted on set but it looks like a Headless Monk was too. I do wonder what the heck is going on in that episode, considering there's also the return of Rory's dad, Henry the 8th and UNIT as well as those mysterious black cubes as well.

And the Doctor is on top of the TARDIS with an orange phone - another one from episode 4. Some dialogue heard included the Doctor telling Amy/Rory that the helmic regulator was hit by an arrow. Also, it seems that Rupert Graves will be playing a character called Riddell in the second episode of Series 7, who has a past with the Doctor and Mark Gatiss will be writing two episodes in the latter half of the series, one of them rumoured to be a Victorian adventure with Silurians.

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in the Autumn.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Female Oriented Comedy Shows On The Rise

Yeah, so they have been for a while but at least three of them within the last few months have really generated a lot more attention than usual (though not necessarily for the right reasons at times).

2 Broke Girls: It's been airing on E4 for a while now and thanks to my sister, I got suckered into watching this show and oddly enjoying it, despite the writing being ridiculously amateurish and the depiction of the non-white characters being terrible in places, nearly offensive in others. The premise is interesting enough - ostracised rich girl Caroline (Beth Behrs) and sarky poor girl, Max (Kat Jennings) live and work together in a diner whilst trying to save money in order to set up a cupcake business. It's a pretty simplistic show with the jokes so blatantly obvious at times, a three year old could've come up with something cleverer but the rapport with the two leading ladies is second to none brilliant and there's also the lovely, Chestnut, Caroline's horse, who is probably the best character on the show. It's a fun show but hardly demanding viewing.

Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23: Yeah, I'm an adult and I am not bleeping out a word, even if ABC themselves (and E4) are prone to doing it when promoting this series. There's an element of mean spirited humour to this particular show with Chloe (Krysten Ritter) being the sort of roommate no self-respecting person would want to end up with. In the space of two episodes, Chloe has managed to fleece trusting but not spineless June (Dreama Walker) out of extra money, slept with her boyfriend on a birthday cake and even used June as a pawn against her own parents crumbling marriage. June at least got some payback by selling most of Chloe's stuff and is the better of the two characters by not being too naive or twee to watch. However, the highlight of this series so far is seeing James Van Der Beek (who has aged rather well) parodying himself in epic style as nine years since a particular show's end, he's unable to be seen as anything other than Dawson Leery. A fun enough series that will hopefully maintain it's solidness so far.

Girls: I was going to do an individual blog for this particular show but I changed my mind and although I've only seen a few clips, it does seem to be a Sex And The City for the twenty something audience as our leading lady Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham, creator of the show too) is an aspiring writer, trying to make it in New York, "one mistake at a time" with her friends, art galllery assistant, Marnie Michaels (Allison Williams) and cousins, British Bohemian Jessa Johansson (Jemina Kirke) and Shoshanna Shapiro (Zosia Mamet), the one who is still a virgin. The show has been something of a mixed bag for US audiences and while the ratings haven't been trailblazing, HBO have already commissioned it for a second season and even James Franco wrote up an interesting article for the series, which I'm linking. I'll give it a proper go when SkyAtlantic get around to airing it.

James Franco On Girls:

2 Broke Girls and Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23 air on E4, Thursdays at 9pm and 9.30pm while Girls will air on SkyAtlantic from September.